PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- You might be doing the environment a favor by eating more french fries.
One Maine company is helping turn leftover restaurant grease into a valuable fuel that's helping other businesses, and the environment, thrive. There are a lot of myths out there about the carbon-neutral fuel. According to Matt Pemberton, COO of Maine Standard Biofuels, here are the big ones:
- Biodiesel doesn't work in cold weather.
- Biodiesel does not perform as well as diesel.
- Biodiesel has fuel quality problems.
"The other thing we do is we have a philosophy to bring everything back into Maine, keep everything in Maine, and employ Maine employees to help boost the local economy," Pemberton said.
At Reverb, Tanner Watt's job is to reduce the negative environmental impact music tours have nationally, and spread the word about the carbon footprint a lot of musicians are leaving behind. The wife of Adam Gardner, the lead singer of Guster, founded this non-profit in 2004. Reverb helps bands find local biofuel companies for all its trucks, trailers, and busses.
"It's really one of the best models that you can have. You're finding a local resource, you're creating a value-added product from that local resource, and you're selling it back to the community," Watt said.
Biodiesel burns about 75% cleaner than petroleum diesel. At a 20% blend, users are seeing a 25% overall reduction in emissions. But it hasn't always been easy to convince truck drivers that putting this stuff in their vehicles was both safe and beneficial, especially during a Maine winter.
David Green, the Fleet Facility Manager at Oakhurst Dairy, agrees. Before he switched to Maine Biofuels, another company from the southern part of the country wasn't making a product that worked for his Northeast company. But now, his 150-vehicle fleet is using a 40% blend, higher than he's ever used, and he's using 56% more biofuel this year than he was last year. No adjustments to any fuel tank was necessary.
Maine Biofuels pays its customers about $1.50 per gallon of grease. Nosh is just one of 800 restaurants in Maine Biofuels' drivers are picking up grease from.
"If we can continue that rate of growth, we can be a billion and a half gallon company in the next couple of years," Pemberton added.
Maine Biofuels' mission is to continue this lateral way of doing business and add to the buy local movement by getting more companies to recycle local -- adding to the already thriving buy local, eat local way of life Mainers swear by.